Saturday, January 22, 2011

Melaleuca Threatens eBay Seller

There was an interesting discussion on my Facebook group last week regarding selling Melaleuca products on eBay. One seller had listed some items for a consignment client on eBay and received the following email from eBay user 2010Melaleucacorporate1 (who by the way, has zero feedback):

"This email is to let you know that your auction violates Melaleuca’s policies against selling Melaleuca products on the Internet and may violate eBay’s listing policies and various laws. We realize you may not have known about the policies, but we must ask that you please remove this listing immediately, along with any other listings of Melaleuca products you may have on eBay or any other Internet locations. We understand you may not be constantly monitoring this listing but if, for some reason, it is not removed within the hour we will need to report this to eBay and to our Policy Administration Department so that they may follow up with you and take appropriate action if needed.

As a reminder, you may be able to return your products directly to Melaleuca for a refund. Please contact Policy Administration at 208-522-0700 or reply to this email to discuss this option.

Thank you for your cooperation."

Shocked and scared, the user removed the listing and asked for help regarding if Melaleuca products could actually be sold on eBay, as there are many listings for them. Group member Lisa C. so eloquently replied,

"This method of contacting directly you was entirely inappropriate; eBay has certain requirements (VERO program) for handling such "listing legality" issues.

Self-appointed policeman contacting eBay sellers directly willy-nilly like that, demanding removal of items, can lead to very capricious and arbitrary behavior. Any manufacturer who wants to control the market could make a practice of this even if they had no legal leg to stand on. And -- how do you know the member who contacted you is who s/he claims? With zero feedback, this eBay member could be a competitor trying to intimidate other sellers.

It's one thing for a company to regulate counterfeits in the market It's quite another to try to regulate how products legitimately obtained are resold. I would relist and let your listing stand. I would also forward that (and any subsequent) e-mails to eBay and let them deal with it."

In other words, it is understood by Melaleuca reps and distributors that they may not sell their products on eBay as an agreement between that individual and Melaleuca. This is a case where Melaleuca is using bullying tactics to try and control the secondary market. Anyone can sell Melaleuca products on eBay, even Melaleuca reps if they CHOOSE to do so, of course, at the risk of being dismissed by Melaleuca. Once a person has possession of the items, they are that person's personal property and can be used, given away, or sold if that person chooses to do so. Furthermore, Melaleuca is not on eBay's prohibited items list, so anyone is free to sell them.

(Conversation shared with permission given by all participants of original discussion.)

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